Random Acts of Kindness: The benefits of karma (91A edition)

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Good vibes on the 91A bus: his day planner got away from him, my cell phone phoned home

Two weeks ago, I got onto my usual 91A bus to head Downtown for work. I noticed a black day planner on the bus seat. I proceeded to search through it for a name and/or number to properly return it to its rightful owner.

I contacted a few people and arranged for a successful return of the day planner to its owner. (His brother met me at my place of employment for the handoff.) I felt great about my good deed, but never expected anything in return.

Then last week, I stepped onto my normal 91A going home. Halfway into the trip, I realized I did not have my cell phone. I must have dropped it at the bus stop.

As I furiously tried to retrace my steps, my boyfriend received a phone call from a young man who had picked up my phone Downtown, at exactly where I thought I had dropped it. The caller agreed to wait for us to come back Downtown to retrieve it. All he asked for was bus fare (but I insisted that he take an extra $20 for his honesty and patience).

Who says that karma doesn't exist?

-- MELISSA M. VIDRA, Lawrenceville

As my cut foot was gushing blood, these kind people came to my rescue

On May 30 around 3:30 p.m., I was on my way to work for the Pirates as a ticket taker, walking toward the stadium. I stepped on a piece of glass, which went through my shoe, straight into my right foot.

The cut was wide. As a diabetic, I began to bleed quite a bit.

Some people were tailgating nearby. A gentleman and his wife came over to help.

The man offered to retrieve my car, which was on the opposite side of Allegheny Center Mall. The woman got me a chair, paper towels and a bag to help cover my foot while I waited for her husband to return with my car. After thanking them, I drove myself to Allegheny General Hospital.

I would just like to thank them again for helping me in such a big way! I offered to pay them for all that they'd done, but the response was "no thanks." I was also touched by the fact that they are white and I am African-American; it was a moment of common humanity.

I hope that if they ever need help, someone will help them without reserve just as they helped me.

-- SHELDON B. MORRIS, Duquesne

As I was lost in a detour, this kind man literally went out of his way to help me

My title for this story: "Young Black Man Guides Lost Old White Man."

I was driving from Mt. Lebanon to a doctor's office adjoining St. Margaret Hospital in the Aspinwall area. I was on a section of Route 28 North that has a long detour, starting around Etna, with one detour sign after another, taking you across the river. I missed a detour sign and wandered around lost.

At one point, I found a police station. A desk officer told me where to go -- across the Highland Park Bridge -- and wrote directions in print. On the way I came to a fork in the road and soon realized I had taken the wrong road.

As I started to back out, a young black man driving a van stopped and walked over to my car. I told him I was lost and wanted to reach the Delafield exit on Route 28, close to St. Margaret Hospital. He saw that I was an old white man with hearing aids. (I am 90.)

He told me to follow his van and he would pass the Delafield exit on his way to Fox Chapel, which is farther north on Route 28.

When I followed him to the Delafield exit, instead of waving good-bye there, he turned off and led me to the hospital entrance, where we waved good-bye. He had to drive more than a mile to another exit to get back on his way.

-- HARRY HYMAN, Mt. Lebanon

I was hit by a car, and these two angels appeared to help me heal

I am writing to thank two strangers who helped me on the night of Monday, July 27, when I was hit by car while I walking near the intersection of Bigelow Boulevard and North Craig Street in Oakland.

The driver of the car pulled over immediately to help me. But a young woman and man also stopped and proceeded to give me first aid. They cleaned me up and dressed my wounds very effectively while waiting for the medics to arrive. The last I saw of them was when I was taken the hospital by the EMTs.

Later the next day, I was speaking to the man who hit me and asked if he got the names of the two young individuals who rushed to aid me. Apparently as quickly as the two came, they left just as quickly, never giving me or the driver the chance to properly thank them for all they did.

I want to thank my two angels here, with the hope that they will see it and know how much their good deeds were appreciated.

And I would like the city to know that there are such people like my two angels out there.


I stumbled leaving Macy's, and so many people were there to help me back up

I am an 89-year-old lady, very unsteady on my feet, and I walk with a cane. I was leaving Macy's with a dear friend on July 28 when I tripped on the metal tracks on the floor and fell.

Before I knew I was down, there were helping hands, many. I was not hurt, but needed help getting up. My friend and another dear lady got me on my feet.

I was first shaken up, but everyone was so eager to help. The nice lady's young son was holding my handbag for me. I did not realize that I did not have it. The nice lady held me firmly and took me to our car.

I shall never forget it. I lived in Connecticut for 20 years and never experienced anything like this. I have always been convinced that Pittsburghers were a special breed.

Here's a special heartfelt "thank you" to the numerous people who stopped to help an "old lady." I love reading "Random Acts" every Thursday. Keep them coming!

-- JO NAGLE, Coraopolis

Oh, where's my purse? A voice from behind the wall directed me

I moved to Arizona more than two years ago due to health reasons, but I still miss many things about Pittsburgh, mostly my family and friends but also the kindness of Pittsburgh natives.

I was returning home to Arizona in April and had taken my rental car back to the airport. I was awaiting the hotel shuttle outside when I panicked and realized that I had left my purse in the ladies room.

Racing back there and expecting the worst, I entered the bathroom and asked a woman at the sink if she had seen my purse.

A voice answered from a stall: "I turned it in to US Airways!"

I ran down there and got my purse, and then had to catch my van quickly. I never got a chance to thank this unseen woman -- so I hope she is reading this.

Again, I say: Pittsburgh people are the best!

-- DIANE SPADAFORE, Gilbert, Ariz.

We join you in making Acts of Kindness a way of life

I enjoy reading about your Random Acts of Kindness. I appreciate the Post-Gazette doing this and creating a culture that actively encourages people to be kind.

I am the founder and director of Areyvut, a nonprofit organization based in New Jersey dedicated to teaching students the importance of kindness and communal involvement while they are young and try to develop resources and programs that help them inculcate these values into their lives. We stress the core Jewish values of chesed (kindness), tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (social action).

One such resource is our "A Kindness a Day Calendar" (see our Web site areyvut.org), which encourages people to get involved in their community, help those in need and to actively make as difference. (For example: "Before you go to bed, think of one more good deed you can accomplish -- then do it.")

I welcome the opportunity to work with you to highlight kindness.

-- DANIEL ROTHNER, Bergenfield, N.J.

Has someone done you right? Send your story to page2@post-gazette.com or Portfolio, Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or call 412-263-1915.

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